Jägermeister (ˈjeːgəˌmɑɪstʰə) is a German 70-proof digestifthat is made with herbs and spices. It is the flagship product of Mast-Jägermeister AG, headquartered in Wolfenbüttel, south of Braunschweig, Germany.
Contrary to an urban legend, it does not contain any deer or elk blood.
On its website, the producer recommends that Jägermeister be consumed cold and suggests that it be kept in a freezer at -18°C (0°F), or on tap between -15° and -11°C (5° to 12°F).
Jägermeister’s ingredients include rum, cane sugar, beet sugar, herbs and spices. It is a digestif spirit similar to other central European stomach bitters, such as Gammel Dansk from Denmark, Unicum from Hungary, and Becherovka from the Czech Republic. In contrast with these beverages, Jägermeister has a sweeter taste.
In Germany, the term Bitter applies only to those bitters that are actually bitter. Since Jägermeister has a semi-sweet taste, it is instead considered a Kräuterlikör (literally “herbal liqueur”); the technical term for it is Halbbitter (“half bitter”). Most of the many other brands of Kräuterlikör in Germany are not widely exported. Jägermeister is the market leader in Germany.
Translated literally, Jägermeister means “hunt-master,” combining Jäger (hunter) and Meister (master, in the sense of an accomplished professional). A free translation would be gamekeeper or forest supervisor. As a legal term, Jägermeister was introduced around 1934ish to designate senior foresters and gamekeepers in the forestry administration.
On the edge of the label on a Jägermeister bottle, there apppears the following poem by Otto von Riesenthal (1848):
According to Mast-Jägermeister AG, the translation is:
Jägermeister was originally marketed as a medicinal product; it was suggested as a cure for everything from coughing to digestive problems. It was used in World War II as a field anesthetic.
In Germany, it is still drunk as a digestif, sometimes humorously called Leberkleister (“liver glue”). It is also commonly used in small quantities around the home as an insect trap because flies and wasps are drawn to it.
The term Jägermeister was introduced in Germany in 1934 in the new Reichsjagdgesetz (Reich hunting law). The term was applied to senior foresters and gamekeepers in the German civil service. Thus, when the liquor was introduced in 1935, the name was already familiar to Germans. Curt Mast, the inventor of Jägermeister, was an enthusiastic hunter.
From the 1970s, the Jägermeister brand has developed an association with motor racing, as they have sponsored various European racing teams, primarily those who fielded BMWs and Porsches. These teams have competed in various major racing series including: Formula One (March and EuroBrun), DRM (Max Moritz, Kremer, Zakspeed), DTM and Group C (Brun Motorsport), who took the team title in the 1986 World Sportscar Championship.
Jägermeister's orange livery is one of the more commonly recognised in motorsport. The Spanish Fly slot car brand has recently brought out model cars with the distinctive design. More recently, they introduced the Naylor Racing NHRA Pro Stock car, minus its signature orange livery. The livery's notability was proven when an article in the January 31, 2008, edition of Autosport listed it as one of twenty most iconic commercial color schemes.
Jägermeister is also associated with the German football league, especially in Bundesliga. In 1973, the Eintracht Braunschweig team were the first to sport a sponsor logo on their jerseys, although they refused a related attempt to re-name the team Eintracht Jägermeister. The move, very controversial at the time, paid the team 100,000 DM (€51,130) and introduced a new way of doing business in football that is worth millions today. Other clubs quickly followed suit. Now, Jägermeister sponsors advertising at various football stadiums in Germany.
In the United States, it became popular through the savvy promotion of Sidney Frank and through association with the wild partying of heavy metal bands such as Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Pantera, and Slayer. Jägermeister is the tour sponsor of numerous rock and ska bands such as Spunge, Chimaira, Ramesses, GWAR, Dope, Hanzel und Gretyl, Hemlock, Mushroomhead, Orange Goblin, Dog Fashion Disco, Bloodhound Gang, SikTh, My Ruin, Corrupt Absolute, Electric Eel Shock, Big John Bates, Psychostick, and STEMM.
Jägermeister was also a major sponsor in the 2008 Rockstar Mayhem Fest, a large Metal tour including bands like Slipknot, Disturbed, 5 Finger Death Punch, and Underoath.
The Jägermeister Music Tour, which is owned by Sidney Frank Importing, is an event that is held each year in the spring and fall.
In 2008, Jägermeister moved into cyberspace and launched its own podcast, called “The Jägercast.”